Friday 17 January 2014

"Crystal Fairy" (The Guardian 17/01/14)

Crystal Fairy (18) 98 mins ***

Chilean writer-director Sebastián Silva here follows 2009’s sly social satire The Maid with this gently subversive road trip, a younger, scruffier sibling to Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También. A newly dopey Michael Cera is the chauvinist partyhound whose plans of doing mescaline in the Atacama desert with his travelling companions are hijacked by hippychick Gaby Hoffmann; she’s soon confounding everyone with her advocacy of karmic cleansing and female body hair. Crucially, the gag isn’t that she’s some aberrant freak, but that these little boys don’t know how to react to her – and Hoffmann’s nudity is so self-assuredly confrontational it’s scant surprise she’s since been tapped to appear on TV’s Girls. Stretches of improv with passers-by means the film can resemble one of those What the Director Did on His Holidays doodles, yet its breeziness is oddly warming: Silva’s open to the elements in ways his blinkered protagonist only claims to be. 

Crystal Fairy opens in selected cinemas from today, ahead of its DVD release on January 27.

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